Hail. Welcome to the next installment of my series of threads on aspects of MMO design. I guess I should note that despite me now being part of the WSC team, these threads are of my own devices and not related to the WSC staff. Just wanted to make sure there wouldn‘t be any confusion, especially for newcomers. TL;DR: Communities in MMOs. Smaller server communities and larger macro-communities. How important are each to you? How much do they come into play with how your playstyle? Could you do without one or the other? Give your thoughts. Topic: This week I wanted to talk about the rather broad but vastly important topic of an MMO‘s community. The community is one of the most important and defining part of an MMO. Without the community, the MMO dies as the MMO is designed around its community in whatever form that community may be. These communities come in many forms and only a few of them are easily definable. The two different types that I wish to emphasize on are on one hand the smaller and simpler “server communities” and the larger, more complex overarching community that follows and plays the MMO, which I shall call the “macro-community.” How you precisely define these two can be rather difficult. How they interact with each other and their importance to each player is important as well. I’d like to start the conversation about how I define and view these different types of communities. I would love to see your thoughts and feedback on this subject. My thoughts: I define a server community as a community of players as restricted by their choice of server. With this I include any external sites, forums and guild where the people from this server interact with each other (See: Everquest, WoW, etc.) Then there is the macro-community which I see as the following of the game as a whole. This especially applies to a game that uses the single “megaserver” technology so the entire community of the game is on the same server (See: EVE, in the future TESO.) However, the lines between these two types are starting to blur in some games where there is server segregation but the interactivity between the servers are tending towards a “megaserver” structure (See: Current WoW, TSW, GW2.) This is a very interesting thing to think about because there are people who preferred what could now be called ‘old-school’ server communities. Then there are people who don’t mind this mixing of communities or even bothered with the server community and just wished to interact with the macro-community as a whole. As these lines are blurring the communities are changing. I’m not using the term “evolution” because that implies progress forward and that there is a “devolution” counter to this because how positive these changes are subjective. What do you think about the changes going on? Is the current trend the right way to go? Should we go back to how it was before? Is there a different direction to take? Can both types peacefully co-exist within the same game?